Chet Greason, Gazette staff
At only 19, Shay Gavin has been to war.
She won her battle two and a half years ago after six months of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant that saw her cancer go into remission.
“I’m all better now,” she says.
And now that she’s healthy again, she’s ensuring her comrades remain equipped to assist others the same way they assisted her.
Shay and her mom, Trina, organized the The Inside Ride, held for the second time in Stratford this past Saturday, May 4. The mother/daughter team, and the event they helped to organize, has raised over $16,000 for Childcan, an organization that helped Shay and her family through their ordeal.
“Once I was better, I wanted to help give back; to support the things they do to help kids with cancer,” she says.
Shay says Childcan provided parking passes to her parents when they visited her for long stretches in the hospital. The organization also organized trips to Canada’s Wonderland and cooked meals for families during the holidays “to give us a bit of normalcy,” says Shay.
The Inside Ride saw 10 teams of six riders participating in a grueling, but fun, indoor relay held in the St. Michael’s Catholic secondary school gymnasium. Each rider raised donations prior to the event and then spent 10 minutes peddling as fast as they could on a stationary bike.
One such team was Combat Cancer, consisting of cancer survivor Brittany Taylor and her friends and family. Taylor’s team contributed $700 to the $8,500 total brought in that day.
Although the event raised more money this year than last, it attracted fewer participants. Shay wonders if it’s due to May being a busy time of year, and hopes to hold next year’s Inside Ride in October.
“We’re going to hold an info night next year to help get the word out,” she adds.
In the meantime, donations can still be made to Shay’s cause online. Inside Ride is a national event organizer that holds indoor relays all over Canada. Local organizers, like Shay and her mom, get to choose the charity that will receive the donated funds.
If you’d like to make a donation to Childcan through Inside Ride, log onto its website at www.insideride.com/calendar. Select the Stratford event (May 4) and follow the directions.
You can also make a donation directly to Childcan. See its website at www.childcan.com.